Suit Alleges Los Angeles School District Not Using New School Aid Dollars as Intended

The Community Coalition of South Los Angeles (founded by former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass) and parent Reyna Frias have filed suit charging that the Los Angeles Unified School District is not spending new money from Governor Jerry Brown’s educational reform program as intended. The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from a number of organizations, including Public Advocates and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California.

John Affeldt, speaking for Public Advocates, said the district is spending the money on special education, but the new law requires the funds to be allocated for programs for needy students, non-English-speaking students and foster home students.

A spokesman for the district said the parties that filed the suit misinterpreted how the new law works. “The Legislature clearly granted school districts – which predominantly serve low-income students, foster youth and English-language learners – the highest degree of flexibility in determining student program needs,” a district statement said.

The plaintiffs also are suing Los Angeles County Superintendent Arturo Delgado, who approved the school district’s accounting methods.

This spring, the district and United Teachers Los Angeles – the teachers’ union – negotiated a $1 billion health care package and a 10 percent raise, phased in over two years, that will add $250 million in payroll costs. (Sources: Los Angeles Times, July 1; EdSource, July 1.)

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